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Misdemeanor Assault Charges Filed Against CSUF Professor

A Feb. 23 court date is set in case involving allegations of sexual harassment by an undergraduate student.

February 09, 2001|JEFF GOTTLIEB | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Cal State Fullerton sociology professor faces a Feb. 23 court date for two counts of misdemeanor assault and battery connected to advances he allegedly made toward an undergraduate.

The student, Esther Bin Im, filed a lawsuit this week against professor Clarence Tygart and the trustees of the California State University alleging sexual harassment, assault, battery and slander, civil rights violations and failure.

The criminal charges were filed March 2. Jerome Goldfein, Tygart's attorney for the criminal complaint, said the district attorney will drop the charges at the court hearing. He said the two sides made an informal deal that the case would be dropped if no new violations occurred. A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said she did not have the information available to confirm or deny that on Thursday.

Tygart, 65, has taught at the university for more than 25 years. His specialties are deviant behavior, criminology and juvenile delinquency.

His attorney in the civil suit could not be reached for comment.

Ronald Hughes, chairman of the sociology department and a former student of Tygart's, said no other similar complaints had been filed against Tygart. He said Tygart had not been disciplined in this case.

The lawsuit says another student had similar problems. In an interview, the student said Tygart sent her a Valentine's Day card and a letter saying he loved her. She said nothing was done when she complained to the university. She said she filed a formal complaint with the university but never sued.

Im says in her lawsuit that she was working as an assistant to Tygart and was taking an independent study course with him last year. She says he hugged her and kissed her and told her he loved her.

He wrote two letters to her, copies of which were filed with the suit. The suit says that after charges were filed, Tygart told his classes that Im had lied and referred to her with an obscenity.

Im's suit also charges that university officials did little when she complained. The Cal State attorney could not be reached for comment.

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